Four Months, Five Awards

When we opened our doors in February this year, we honestly didn’t know what to expect. For three years, we’d been planning, renovating, and pouring ourselves into all the details and demands that go into opening Savannah’s first distillery since before Prohibition. It’s never easy starting a new business—especially when that business is unique to your city—but with only four months under our belt, we are loving life as a member of the Savannah business community. We are thrilled to share Savannah’s storied history with guests in a whole new way with our immersive tour experience, which includes a 360-degree video segment, a peek behind the scenes at how we make all our spirits, and, of course, samples of our Vodka 261 and Vodka 261 Orange.

As a new business, feedback and support are invaluable. We received some much-needed confirmation that we were on the right track when Connect Savannah readers voted us Best Local Spirits in May. Then in June, we found out we’d won four SIP (Spirits International Prestige) awards. The SIP Awards were founded in 2009 and are the only blind tasting international competition that enlists consumers as judges. Their goal is to provide is “one of the most reliable measures of beverage quality rating in the world by delivering the opinions, thoughts, and voices of the consumer to the general public.” SIP is considered one of the major rating organizations of spirits in the world, and their competition was our vodka’s first real test when it came to seeing how we stacked up against other vodka and flavored vodkas.

We entered our two spirits: Vodka 261 and Vodka 261 Orange. Together, GCD vodkas brought home four prestigious awards related to both flavor and bottle design. Each vodka won Gold for flavor, with Vodka 261 winning Gold among the nearly 500 participating brands, while Vodka 261 Orange won Gold in the Flavored/Infused Vodka category. Each of our “Born from Revelry” inspired vodka bottles also earned Bronze in the Individual Bottle Design category. SIP define Gold as such: “Consumer judges felt the product met the premium stands, meets very high standards, and is of unparalleled excellence.”

Everyone on the team was thrilled, and now we know that bar has been set for us to continue to deliver premium craft vodka and soon (but not soon enough!), we hope our bourbon also lives up to these high standards. “Honestly, we were humbled and honored to win golds in our first year of competing in the SIP awards,” co-owner Rob Ingersoll shares. Adds co-owner Chris Sywassink, “We know we love our vodka, but to know consumers are loving it too, well, there’s really no better validation.”

Learn more about the SIP awards here.

How to Have a Killer Picnic in Savannah

Taking advantage of Savannah’s 22 beautiful, shaded squares is a must-do experience whether you’re visiting for the weekend or call Savannah home, and what better way to soak in their beauty than a leisurely picnic? If you’re planning on having cocktails with your picnic (and why wouldn’t you when the entire historic district allows to-go cups!), make sure you pick a square that’s between the legal to-go cup zone that starts at Jones Street and goes up to River Street. Hint: iconic Jones Street is the perfect place for a post-picnic stroll.

Of course, you’ll want to come take our distillery tour that includes a souvenir bottle of our Ghost Coast Vodka 261 or Vodka 261 Orange and try out one of our custom cocktails to enjoy during your picnic. Perhaps most fitting is our Oglethorpe’s Mule to honor General Oglethorpe himself since he’s the reason we have these beautiful squares in the first place! As points out, “It is unique in the history of urban planning in a number of respects, not the least of which is that the squares allow for more open space in Savannah than in any city layout in history.”

As for your other picnic fixings, we recommend stopping at Smith Brothers Butcher Shop. Smith Brothers has been a Savannah staple for nearly 100 years and have a vast selection of cheeses, cured meats, and housemade sides. Or, pickup counter-order sandwiches and sides from 11am-3pm Mondays through Saturdays for the easiest picnic ever. Other counter-order spots that make for tasty and quick picnic options include British Pie Society, Goose Feathers, and Butterhead Greens.

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Born From Revelry

Opened in 2017, Ghost Coast Distillery is downtown Savannah’s first distillery since Prohibition. Tours will run every hour, on the hour Monday-Wednesday 12-6pm, and Thursday-Saturday 10-6pm. Owners Chris Sywassink and Rob Ingersoll selected their building in the burgeoning West Side of downtown Savannah to help breathe new life into the building at 641 Indian Street, noted as part of the City of Savannah’s West Downtown Urban Redevelopment Plan. Follow their Facebook page for the latest updates and information.

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